‘Are talking about’ – The new metric from Facebook, a comparison of Swedish universities.

Facebook have launched their new metric, the rather awkwardly named ‘Are talking about’. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how it’s calculated. The factors which it looks at have been reported as:

– Liking a page
– Posting to the page’s wall
– Liking, commenting or sharing a page’s status
– Answering a question
– RSVPing to an event
– Mentioning the page
– Tagging a photo
– Liking or sharing a check in
– Checking in

Whats twisting my melons is this context for this. What time period is this reporting? Is it the last week, hour or minute? I expect we’ll get an answer to this as the more detailed insights for administrators comes on line – but if you’ve got any idea, I’d love to hear it.

Swedish Universities Ranked by their ‘Are talking about’ (ATA) score, as recorded on 6th October 2011:

Umeå University 296
Uppsala universitet 285
Lund University 226
Umeå universitet 145
KTH  135
Stockholm University 127
Högskolan i skövde 116
Linköping Universitet 104
Uppsala University 102
Högskolan i Halmstad 93
Linne Universitet 92
Karolinska Institutet 80
Mälardalans Högskola 75
Lunds Universitet 72
Mittuniversitetet 66
Malmö University 54
Jönköping University 50
Stockholm’s universitet 49
Högskolan i Borås 40
SLU 37
Chalmers University of technology 37
Högskolan Väst 32
Malmö Högskola 32
Karlstads Universitet 22
Stockholm school of economics 19
University of Borås 18
Royal Institute of Art 9
Högskolan Dalarna 7
BTH officiell 5
Mid Sweden Uni 4

And here’s the ATA score plotted against number of page friends:

Comparison of Facebook page friends with Are Talking About score

So What?

To be honest, I’m not really sure what this is telling us or how you’ll action it.  The more actionable data will be coming in the admin only revamped insights tab. Without knowing what time scale this is reporting, it feels a little meaningless. Also, the number of friends of the page clearly (and naturally) affects the number – weighting for this may make the ATA score more relevant, and this is discussed over on the UK Craft Blog, where they have done a similar comparison. I’ll repeat this again in the next few days, and see how the score changes.

Update – October 7th.

The last 7 days – that’s the amount of activity which the ‘Are Talking About’ metric gives you. This makes it a little sharper, but you’ll be needing to keep a pretty constant eye on your competitors, or peers, if you want to use it for benchmarking over time. Here’s the official information from Facebook:

7 days worth of data - Are talking about




2 thoughts on “‘Are talking about’ – The new metric from Facebook, a comparison of Swedish universities.

  1. Thanks John! This last weekend, another Facebook analytics and statistics page launched in Estonia: http://social.7blaze.com/. They are using “People talking about this” data for calculating pages’ engagement rate: are talking about this / like this * 100. Think it makes more sense than comparing absolute numbers. Would be cool to have such a page, automatically pulling data from Facebook, for unis!

  2. Hi Inga! poor internet connection on the train ate my last attempt to answer….Good idea to make the ‘are talking about’ metric more sensible. It’s possible to call data from the Facebook API – I’ve fixed it for seeing how many people like pages, but not so sure for the ‘are talking about’ metric. Will look into it a bit more, as you’re right – it would be a great tool for getting a quick overview.

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